I'm sure many folks on here played with one of these in the 70's like I did. It's back !
I have to laugh about this. I gave away my C64 decades ago, but still have my VIC-20 with tape drive and plotter/printer. If I want to go retro, I'll take it out and boot it up.
If I want to work I'll stay with my current much more ergonomic systems.
Thanks for posting though!
BTW, the link fails. I suggest people start at the domain and find the page manually.
I bought a brand new VIC-20 for about $300 in the mid 70's. Used it for several years and then got a C-64. The VIC-20 was drafted as a repeater controller for our club's 2 meter repeater after I wrote an assembly-language program to run in the auto-start area of memory. It ran for about 5 years 24/7/365. I'm still impressed by what those machines were capable of doing with small programs.
I had a Commodore Plus 4. It was my first "computer" and I got it free for listening to a vacation sales pitch. I played Zork on it - the BEST computer game EVER. When I got killed it took forever and a day to reload the game even though it was strictly text.
It is pitch black. You are likely to be eaten by a grue.
I wrote the programs to use for the weekly football pool. Soon we had a pool for NASCAR & baseball too. When the IBM clones appeared, the young guys took over everything.
I got a modem for my c64 and when i got it running i got a whopping 300 baud. thought that was the greatest thing going.
I always loved the 300 modems. I just read what I was downloading as I downloaded it. Great stuff Maynard!
The link is working OK for me.
my first was a trash 80 lol
I learned more from using the VIC20 and the C64 then from any book or course I took. Nothing like hands on.
My first modem,in the late 70s or early 80s, was a 300 baud one too. I used to get up a 4am to do a download at a time when the circuts weren't as busy. Simple files used to take 45 minutes. Those were the days. Now I just get up at 4am -- 'cause I can't sleep any more.
My first machine was a TI/994A. by the time I finished adding all of the options I think I had about $2500.00 tied up in it. Then when the first IBM compatibles hit the market I bought a Leading Edge with my first hard drive which was an option. That hard drive cost me $300.00 extra and was a 30 Meg drive, in case you missed that I said 30 Meg not Gig. The on-board graphics were four color, which I later replaced with a VGA card. At that point I thought I had the slickest machine ever.
Then when the first IBM compatibles hit the market I bought a Leading Edge with my first hard drive which was an option. That hard drive cost me $300.00 extra and was a 30 Meg drive.
Came with a 10 Meg drive.
I was working for a minicomputer manufacturer and we developed a network board for the XT/AT and compatibles. Gave me access to over 300MB of disk storage on the network with a 60MB drive installed. A 60MB drive was going for about $500 back then.
I remember when the C64 came out in the early 1980s. A next-door neighbor kid had one (wealthy parents). I considered it to be a very expensive toy.
At the time I had access to an IBM PC (two floppy drives, and no hard drive that cost several thousand dollars) and a Prime mainframe at work so no way was I going to spend that much for a home computer.
I did get a Timex Sinclair 1000 when they dropped to about $100.
We have some things in common.
I remember using the acoustic coupled modems fed by a TTY-35 that was sending data from a punched paper tape.
I ain't gonna talk about what makes me get up at nights.
.... I played Zork on it - the BEST computer game EVER. When I got killed it took forever and a day to reload the game even though it was strictly text.
"You are standing in an open field west of a white house....."
I enjoyed Zork also. I still have a copy of it and also the follow-on GUI version.
I had a VIC-20 which was second to my initial computer, a Timex-Sinclair TS1000...with, get this impressive stat...the fancy 16K RAM module! I still have the TS for posterity!
Too expensive, but oddly cool! I'm more interested in the Commodore OS but I doubt they managed to emulate Amiga functionality very completely.
I still have a Vic20, C64, Amiga 1000 and Amiga 1500. Can't get rid of 'em but never use 'em. I learned assembly language programming on them. Actually quite powerful.
Was thinking about building a game box with them at one point. Complete with arcade style joysticks & buttons. Might still do that one day (no, I'll likely never get around to it).
Well said Gary, except I get up early to relieve my bladder. I had a Commodore and a Trash 80 during those days along with the 300 baud modem. I eventually got one of the first IBM PC's with 2 floppies and no hard drive and 64k of memory. Use to play frogger on it along with some program game that explored some caves and you had to collect gold eggs for the troll and such, can't remember the name of it. There was no visual, just words about what happened. The IBM PC cost me close to $5,000 for it back then. Look where we are today.
I still have my TRS-100 and TRS-102, the first truly portable laptops. LCD screen, but you could bang out alot of text related stuff on it and it fit in a small briefcase. Now I use them for control functions on various projects.
Nothing like the 17 pound Osbourne that was called a portable.
Use to play frogger on it along with some program game that explored some caves and you had to collect gold eggs for the troll and such, can't remember the name of it. There was no visual, just words about what happened.
The game was called Adventure (I first played it on an IBM mainframe ...you'll never get it up the stairs LOL)
I was working for GM back in the 70's and we were experimenting with a system for dealerships that utilized a DEC PDP-8. I remember having to get there early to manually toggle in the boot sequence (set the address, toggle the command and object, hit write, and repeat), once that was loaded the paper tape reader would load in the main program. Those were the days. At least I really understand what is meant by a Bootstrap Loader or to reboot. LOL LOL
The main I/O was a Model 33ASR Teletype with Tape Punch and Reader. 110 baud if I remember correctly. A real speed demon !
When I started out in computers back in the mid 50s I programmed in hexadecimal on punched paper tape and used the Army's UNIVAC at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds and the Navy's ORDVAC at the David Taylor Model Basin, both in Maryland to run my programs.
However, my first home computer was not of building size. It was a very much smaller Apple II Computer. Of course that's not counting the hand held soroban (Japanese abacus) I used when stationed in Japan.
I should also add, as others are now doing so, that my first hard drive was a whooping 10 meg (that was big in those days) and the 300 baud modem that I mentioned before cost me $300 and was nothing more than a plug in card which would probably cost $.25 today.
"Ah yes, I remember it well."
This reminiscing is fun.....amazing how far we've come, Gary. WOW ! By the way, thanks for a great website !
This reminiscing is fun. How far we've come ! WOW ! Thanks for a great website as well, Gary.
Who bought one?
Almost makes me want to order a C64 for old time's sake.
When I started out in computers back in the mid 50s
In the 50's my first PC was my umbilical cord, used to wrap it around my arm into rows and used the bumps for 1's, 10's, etc.
In the mid 50s I was an aircraft mechanic working on F-84Fs and F-100Ds. They had a computerized Low Altitude Bombing System but I knew little about the computer.
My first computer programming was on an analog computer at UNM around 1963. That involved calculating the values of capacitors, inductors, and resistors to be placed in the analog circuits.
About the same time I was programming on an IBM 1620 which IIRC liked Octal. Later on there was IBM 360, CDC 6600, and Prime computers.
So I got up close and personal with binary, octal, and hexadecimal, and IBM’s JCL Prime’s PRIMOS etc.
Well? Who bought one?
Not me, I think it is interesting but not something I would buy at this stage in my life.
I really liked Zork, played it on a Plus/4, C64 and a PC...
Infocom released Zork I, II and III as freeware, available here for PC (and Mac):
A grue? Then I suggest you turn on your lantern.
But, leave it in the past.
I built a curcuit board to inerface the C-64 to a ham radio. This allowed trans/recieve of slow scan TV pics with ham radio. It took 7 seconds to show the pic. Like watching a printer print a pic.
I started out with the TI then Commodore 64, then Commodore 128, then Amiga, then finally an IBM Clone. Remember when Memory was outrageously priced. My brothers and I would pool our resources just to buy one stick!
My first computer was a Radio Shack Color Computer, which came with a whopping 4K of memory. Thanks to a bunch of guys in the local club, I eventually expanded it to 64k, added a floppy drive, burned a modified operating system into an eprom to replace the Radio Shack basic, and did a few other hardware hacks. I eventually sold it, and most of the peripherals, to someone who was buying outdated systems.
Like you, I built a modem so that I could use my Vic-20 and later my C-64 to send and receive RTTY on the ham bands. When ASCII began to replace RTTY, I made some minor modifications to the modem and used the C-64 for ASCII. This was mostly on 2 meters but I found that the modem copied commercial RTTY like the Associated Press broadcasts fine. It was a novelty to read the news before it made it into the paper.
Well I was an Apple nut first one was an apple ii with tape drive boot then finally an Apple II plus. Still have it, the manuals et al. Have a Apple Lisa with manuals and drives. Eventually worked for Apple as did my sons and their girlfriends at the time. We used to joke about if Apple failed we would all be hurting really bad. Thanks for sharing your stories as well... Walking through the small PC stores on weekends was Great, Commodores, TRS80 Apples everyone was friendly.
But in high school I had very limited access to a hugh room with an elevated floor for air conditioning for the computer. I could make a Fortran program on a stack of punch cards. When I could get access to the computer for it to read my cards I had to go over to the hugh console and read a row of 16 light bulbs for my binary results.
Owned the TI 2000 (I think it was called), RS CoCo, TRS 100, 102. I remember when I though I was a step up on the rest when I got one of the first TRS-200. I used the last 3 for troubleshooting on some of the first computerized elevators manufactured.
Why is right - it seems like a whole lot for one to play their favoitite 8 bit games - I do like the way they made it into a single compact computer that will run Windows programs and play HD movies.
The 64 was easy to program and easy to design hardware for. See the pre-GPS setup:
My next project was to automatically run multiple electric trains unattended. It (along with the hardware I designed and built) automatically adjusted pulse width of the dc to control the speed of each train, it sensed the location of each train and adjusted the speed accordingly, and would automatically switch a train onto a siding when another train would gain on it. The location of each train would be displayed on the monitor. The OLD Commodore 64 was one of the best PCs of its time.
I still have my Commodore and also and Apple IIe with dual floppy drives. It is amazing to think of the big tasks these machines could do without lots of memory or hard drive space.
I got started with the computer hobby on a TI99 back in about 1979 or 80. I still have that computer. I had added a floppy drive and extra memory. I have it well preserved and I plan to keep it for the memories.
Remember the old message boards? You had to apply for membership and if you were a member and wanted a friend or relative to join, you had to personally recommend them. The prehistoric chat rooms!
Also I remember local "bulletin boards" where someone in the area made available a computer so that messages could be posted and read by others. This was done by using "communications software" such as Procomm. This was back in the pre-web days.
Files could be uploaded to the "Host" computer for others to download.
Procomm is still available and the process could still be done using it.
Wow! I have not heard those names in ages. It brings back sweet and painful memories. I used to have a 300 bauds modem. Yes, 30 bytes per second. I used to be very patient...
My very first computer was a home built box of part called the Elf2 home kit, if I remember it was featured in Popular Electronics in 1976 or so. The computer a RCA 1802 microprocessor, 256 bytes of RAM, 0 bytes of ROM, DMA based bit mapped graphics with a 2 x 7-segment display, hex keypad for user interaction and DMA based program loading, an LED on the special processor Q line, and 5 expansion slots.
You had to be good at your binary to digital conversions to use the computer until tiny basic was released.
Then came a Sinclair ZX 81 , Vic 20/cassette, C64/disk drive & HDD, PC Jr, Leading Edge 8088 with 8087, 286, 386, 486, Pentium 1,2,3,4, Quad-Core Xeon, laptops & a Droid 2 smartphone.
I still have them all except for the PC Jr.
I must admit ,my favorite of the non-Intel computers was the C64, however I have to agree with rocknicehunter why go back when you can move forward. If feel nostalgic I could drag one out, but I never do.
Oh no it's not back is it?
Bought my kids Atari 800s rather than Commodore. But I remember Bill Shatner Kirk selling 64s on TV. I think the Ataris were less expensive, which was a determining factor back then.
Started with the VIC-20, and then upgraded to a C=64.
Never could afford to go to the C=128. By the time I could, PC's were the 'in' thing.
Procomm is still available and the process could still be done using it.
There were a fair number of WWIV based boards in my area. I even had one for a while but only used it privately so I could access files remotely when I was trying to work on somebody else's system. There were boards based on other software than WWIV but that one was easy to setup and configure and it worked well so folks tended to use it.
Anybody remember Simon - the BOFH? I used to love reading those. The guy was pure evil.
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